Inquiry call against health board over killer Kris Wade

Kris Wade and Christine JamesImage copyright South Wales Police/Family photo

Calls have been made for an independent inquiry into the handling of sex assault allegations against a hospital worker who later killed a woman.

Nursing assistant Kris Wade admitted murdering neighbour Christine James in a sexually motivated attack[1] in 2016.

An internal report[2] found Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board did not "robustly" pursue sexual assault complaints against him by patients.

The British Medical Association said a health board should not probe itself.

Dr David Bailey, the BMA's Welsh council deputy chairman, said:"We believe it is unacceptable for a health board to investigate serious concerns about itself.

"A desk top review which fails to speak to everyone involved in raising concerns is wholly insufficient and demonstrates a significant lack of transparency about the process.

"The review seems to absolve the health board from any responsibility for not acting sooner, this is simply unacceptable."

The review concluded it did not believe the killing could have been predicted.

'Number of issues'

Wade worked in the learning and disabilities directorate based at Rowan House, Cardiff, when three separate allegations were made, between July 2010 and December 2011, by former patients.

They were referred to South Wales Police but no criminal charges were brought.

When Wade was arrested for murder in March 2016, he was already suspended by ABMU while the health board held a disciplinary process over the sexual assault allegations.

He was later sacked.

Image copyright Google Image caption Wade killed Christine James at her Cardiff Bay flat

The health board report concluded:"The review concludes there were a number of issues relating to health board processes and responses to the allegations that needed to be improved."

"It does not however consider that the issues identified could have otherwise predicted or prevented Mr Wade's future conduct and behaviour outside of his employment," it added.

"Despite police being informed of all sexual abuse allegations, the review concluded that the health board's internal reporting procedures had not been followed robustly enough.

"This did not relate to any deliberate attempt to conceal the allegations, but was more a reflection of a wider culture within certain healthcare settings to base actions on the believability of patients, rather than the use of safeguarding processes."

'Changes'

The report also looked at whether there were potential conflicts of interest between Wade and his father, who was the board's mental health and learning disabilities clinical service director, but has since retired.

It found Wade's father took no part in investigating any allegations against his son, nor was there any written evidence suggesting he "overtly influenced" the board's investigations.

The health board said South Wales Police confirmed Wade did not have a criminal record when he was first employed.

A spokeswoman added:"ABMU health board is finalising a new policy which will provide advice and guidance to managers when dealing with matters of HR when friends and family are involved.

"This will ensure transparency where relationships are identified within the same service.

"Other recent changes include the introduction in 2015 by ABMU of a serious incident investigation team to monitor serious incidents and work proactively with managers, and in some cases support an independent investigation."

'Laissez faire attitude'

A Welsh Government spokesman said:"We expect health boards to robustly investigate any serious allegations made against NHS staff, and to take appropriate action if necessary.

"In addition, there are clear national policies in place which set out the process for staff who wish to raise concerns.

"Health boards are expected to have robust and effective processes and governance arrangements in place to handle any concerns raised."

Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies has also called for an independent inquiry.

"A laissez faire attitude to safeguarding and a culture of stubborn unwilling to take seriously the testimony of patients and staff members enabled Kris Wade to act out his urges with impunity for far too long," he said.

Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, echoed the call and said she wanted the assembly to be recalled for the issue to be debated....

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Ashbrooke Care Home closed over 'serious risk to life'

Ashbrooke Care Home Image caption Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen is operated by Runwood Homes

"Systemic care failings" that posed a "serious risk to life" have led to the closure of a care home in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) took the decision after an unannounced inspection at Ashbrooke Care Home last Wednesday.

The home is operated by Runwood Homes.

It said staff had not been given the opportunity to "address any concerns" the RQIA had with Ashbrooke Care Home.

The RQIA said it was liaising with authorities to organise "appropriate alternative care arrangements" for residents at the home.

The regulator's chief executive Olive Macleod said the "urgent unannounced inspection" at Ashbrooke came after the RQIA received "safeguarding concerns" the previous day.

"During RQIA's inspection, we found systemic care failings and concerns in relation to the management of the home.

"The RQIA considered that there was a serious risk to the life, health and wellbeing of all those living at Ashbrooke Care Home, and that assurances from the provider were not sufficient to address the risks identified."

Image copyright Thinkstock Image caption Runwood Homes said a previous unannounced inspection had found evidence of 'safe delivery of care'

Ms Macleod said the RQIA received an urgent order to cancel the registration of Ashbrooke Care Home with immediate effect last Friday.

"The ongoing safety and wellbeing of every patient and resident at this home is of paramount importance to RQIA," she said.

"We are currently liaising with relevant authorities, including the Western Health and Social Care Trust, to ensure that as a matter of priority, appropriate, alternative care arrangements are put in place for those living at Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen."

Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton said the closure was "unprecedented" and would be a "traumatic experience" for residents.

"The focus of everyone should now be on the safety and welfare of the residents so that they can be relocated as soon as possible in a way that minimises the disruption to their lives and those of their families," she said.

'No prior notification'

DUP councillor Raymond Farrell said it was a "very concerning time".

"Meetings are ongoing between the home and the trust," he said."We don't know what the outcome will be but we hope it's one that puts the residents first and they won't be under any undue stress."

In a statement, Runwood Homes said it "was not given any prior notification of the enforcement action" the RQIA intended to take.

"A previous unannounced care inspection of the home by RQIA on 15 May 2017 had found that there was evidence of safe delivery of care and no enforcement action resulted from the findings of that inspection," it said.

"There has not, therefore, been any opportunity for Runwood staff to engage with RQIA to address any concerns that they had with regard to the running of Ashbrooke Care Home.

"Runwood are currently working very closely with the Western Health and Social Care Trust and other stakeholders to ensure that care delivery is provided in a person-centred and safe manner throughout this difficult time for Ashbrooke Care Home.

"Ensuring that residents of Ashbrooke Care Home receive high quality nursing and residential care is of upmost importance to us."

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust said:"This is a very difficult situation and time for the residents concerned and their families.

"As an interim measure the trust will work alongside the management of the home to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the residents which remains the trust's priority."...

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'Safer' Down's syndrome test to be introduced in Wales

AmniocentesisImage copyright Getty Images Image caption Amniocentesis increases the risk of having a miscarriage

A safer and more accurate test for Down's syndrome is to be introduced for pregnant mothers in Wales, the Welsh Government has announced.

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) will be offered from 2018.

The decision by the Welsh Government follows moves in England[1] to do the same.

Public Health Minister Rebecca Evans said ministers wanted to ensure every expectant mother in Wales receives the information and support they need.

The new blood test - while not offering a complete diagnosis - aims to better inform women of the risks of having a child with the genetic disorder.

It is more accurate than current antenatal screening, which estimates the chance that pregnant women have of having a baby with Down's syndrome.

If the risk is deemed high, women are offered an invasive test called amniocentesis - where a needle is used to extract amniotic fluid and which carries a risk of miscarriage.

Image copyright Getty Images

It is expected one to two babies per year in Wales will be saved from miscarriage as a result of the introduction of NIPT, which will be offered as an additional option for women found to have a higher risk of having a child with Down's syndrome.

Only the invasive test can give a confirmed diagnosis, however.Women who are given a positive NIPT test would not be able to opt for a termination based on that result alone.

Public Health Minister, Rebecca Evans said a negative NIPT result will offer pregnant women reassurance without the need for a further invasive diagnostic test - "reducing the unnecessary harm from miscarriage that can be caused through the use of these tests".

"We want to ensure every expectant mother in Wales receives the information, advice and support they need throughout their pregnancy." she said.

'Training needed'

Julian Hallett, of the Down's Syndrome Association in Wales, said it was essential midwives, screening co-ordinators and other health professionals were trained about the genetic condition before the new screening is rolled out.

"Those women who receive NIPT results will be placed in a position which may lead some to make a decision on whether they continue with their pregnancy.It's a life-changing decision," he said.

He said many parents of children with Down's syndrome reported the information they get from health professionals as "too negative".

"We want to be able to ensure they balance that by giving positive information about the condition and explain the increased opportunities for children and adults with Down's syndrome today," he added.

The roll-out of the test will be evaluated after three years in line with recommendations from the UK and Wales screening committees, Welsh Government said....

References

  1. ^ moves in England (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Glasgow School of Art project personalises prosthetic limbs

Prosthetic limbImage copyright Jeroen Blom Image caption The project has brought together amputees and artisans

Craftspeople have been working with amputees who use artificial lower limbs to create more personalised prosthesis.

Jeroen Blom, a researcher at Glasgow School of Art's Highlands and Islands Creative Campus, brought the team of three artisans together.

They are Karen Collins, from Rafford, and Scott Gleed, of Relugas, both in Moray, and Roger Milton, from Auldearn in the Highlands.

They are working with three people who use prosthetic limbs.

Among the materials being used to make what are known as greaves is wood, while the skills involved include weaving.

Image copyright Jeroen Blom Image caption Amputee Chema Perez and artisan Roger Milton

Mr Blom said:"Through this project three lower limb amputees have been able to have a full involvement in the creation of something very personal and unique to them and in so doing had a much greater sense of involvement and ownership."

"For the artisans, meanwhile, this has been an opportunity to apply and showcase their skills in a new area and to create very special partnerships with their collaborators in the co-design process.

"The aesthetics of the resulting greaves reflect the identity of the amputee as well as the artisanal process."

Image copyright Jeroen Blom Image caption Wood is one of the materials being used in the project

One of the amputees, Caitlin McMullan, said discussions about her use of a prosthetic limb influenced the design work.

She said:"We spoke a bit about my experience of being an amputee, and my experience of before my amputation.

"It was good to think about the design of that, and talk about how I think the design is disability-awareness as well."

She added:"I like having choice, I like changing what my prosthesis would look like.

"I don't like to cover it up.I don't really see the point in trying to hide it.That's what I like about this project.It's making something really nice out of a prosthesis."

Image copyright Jeroen Blom Image caption The aim of the project is to make prosthetic limbs more personal

Chema Perez, who along with Carol Sloan is another of the amputees, worked with craftsman Mr Milton on a wooden greave.

Mr Perez said:"The idea Roger had about having a piece of wood which is not really nice and shiny but something that has some marks of imperfection that tells you a story, was something that I was looking for.

"Something that reflects my experience to make it more personal."

The art school's Highlands and Islands campus is in Forres in Moray.Students and researchers use it as a base for studies in the Highlands and Islands....

Image copyright Jeroen Blom Image caption Weaving is among the skills being used in making the prosthetics

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